100-Word Strolls for 8/26/16: OH, SO ‘THIS’ IS WHAT THE INSIDE OF A WRITER’S MIND LOOKS LIKE

To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself. – Anne Rice

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THOSE WHO TELL THE STORIES RULE SOCIETY. – Plato

Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The thing you are most afraid to write. Write that. ~ Advice to young writers

SOMETIMES ONLY PAPER WILL LISTEN TO YOU.

What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. ~ E. R. Doctorow

A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.

Writing is both mask and unveiling. ~ E. B. White

You must write for yourself and not what you think people want to read. ~ Jodi Ellen Malpas

Without great solitude, no serious work is possible. ~ Picasso

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The first draft is just you telling yourself the story ~ Terry Pratchett

The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink. ~ T. S. Eliot

A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar. ~ Stephen King

Everybody has a chapter they don’t read out loud.

I thought about leaving these anonymous, but would rather you know:  all writers are alike in their uniqueness.  No two have quite the same story nor tell it exactly the same.  Some are globally-acclaimed while others need to be Googled.

Yet were I to leave their names off these observations, you’d give every one of them the same respect.

In the end, if a writer’s being faithful to his or her calling they’ll be caught up, lost in the story, seated on the curb with the rest of us eating Red and  GrapeVines and awaiting the next paragraph.

“This is so exciting!  I wonder what happens next?”

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“Wait.  Aren’t you the writer?”

“Yeah . . .  !”

 © D. Dean Boone, August 2016

 

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100-Word Strolls for 8/25/16: IF TODAY WERE THE LAST DAY OF YOUR LIFE . . .

Steve Jobs asked the question:  “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?”

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Yes.  YES.  I would!

God stepped into my life when we were all sure my remaining days were in the single digits.  Medicine had repeatedly done its best and had nothing more to offer but condolences.  When the best surgeon available comes out after 9+ hours of surgery shaking his head, looking like he’d just seen a speeding UPS truck squash his pet Yorkie, it bodes ill for the patient.

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Me.

I hadn’t lost faith in God’s ability; I’d seen too much of His work to ever doubt that.  I just figured His plan to use me had been scrubbed for reasons known only to Him and I was done.

Turns out He had something else in mind:  writing.

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I love it, though it can be devious and even sadistic in its demands.  Nothing revs my turbines more than getting up with fresh ideas and posting.  And the exhilaration of continuing work on stories, which have an annoying tendency to work their way into a book?  Don’t get me started.

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Would I want to do what I’m about to be doing?

Absolutely, for I love what God has me doing!   And there’s nothing on Earth that I’d take in trade for that knowledge.

 

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How about you?  How would you answer the question?

© D. Dean Boone, August 2016 

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The BELOIT COLLEGE MINDSET LIST for THE CLASS OF 2020

Beloit, Wis. — We have had the NOW generation…get ready for the RIGHT NOW generation, entering college this fall. This fall’s entering college students, the class of 2020, were born in 1998 and cannot remember a time when they had to wait for anything. They also can’t recall a time when the United States was not at war, or when someone named Bush or Clinton was not running for office.

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students about to enter college.

In their lifetimes they have always had eBay and iMacs, and India and Pakistan have always had the bomb. The Sopranos and SpongeBob SquarePants have always been part of popular culture, Gretzky and Elway have always been retired, and Vladimir Putin has always been in charge in the Kremlin.

And although they think of themselves as a powerful generation—Sanders voters, consumers—they are faced with the prospect of student loan debt and of robots and foreigners taking their jobs making them feel anxious and weak. “They know that they’re going to have to wait for that first breakthrough job and getting their school loans paid off.” said Tom McBride, one of the List’s authors. “They’re an impatient generation learning how to be patient.”

The Beloit College Mindset List is created by Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Beloit College Public Affairs; Tom McBride, Professor Emeritus of English; and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology. Additional items on the list as well as commentaries and guides are found at www.beloit.edu/mindset and www.themindsetlist.com. Regular updates and discussions are on Facebook and Twitter.

THE BELOIT COLLEGE MINDSET LIST FOR THE CLASS OF 2020

Students heading into their first year of college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 1998. Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Frank Sinatra, Phil Hartman, Matthew Shepard, Sonny Bono, and Flo-Jo.

Since they arrived on this planet….

  1. There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
  2. Grandpa has always been able to reach for the Celebrex.
  3. They never heard Harry Caray try to sing during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field.
  4. There have always been Cadillac Escalades, but they just don’t seem to be all that into cars.
  5. West Nile has always been a virus found in the U.S.
  6. Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin.
  7. The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine.
  8. Cloning has always been a mundane laboratory procedure.
  9. Elian Gonzalez, who would like to visit the U.S. again someday, has always been back in Cuba.
  10. The United States has always been at war.
  11. Euros have always been the coin of the realm…well, at least part of the realm.
  12. Serena Williams has always been winning Grand Slam singles titles.
  13. SpongeBob SquarePants has always lived at Bikini Bottom.
  14. The Ali/Frazier boxing match for their generation was between the daughters of Muhammad and Joe.
  15. They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
  16. James P. Hoffa has always been president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
  17. Surprise: There has always been sex in the city.
  18. John Hinckley has always been able to get out of the hospital to go for a walk.
  19. Each year they’ve been alive the U.S. population has grown by more than one million Latinos.
  20. TV ads for casinos have always been permitted to mention that there is actually gambling going on in there.
  21. Vaccines have always been erroneously linked to autism.
  22. Laws against on-the-job harassment have always applied to parties of the same sex.
  23. Even as the national mood gets glummer, there has always been an annual prize for the most humorous American.
  24. Catholics and Lutherans have always been in agreement on how to get to heaven.
  25. To greet them with some cheery news, when they were born, India and Pakistan became nuclear powers.
  26. If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.  And forget phone calls.
  27. They disagree with their parents as to which was the “first” Star Wars episode.
  28. “Nanny cams” have always been available to check up on the babysitter.
  29. NFL coaches have always had the opportunity to throw a red flag and question the ref.
  30. Bada Bing – Tony and Carmela Soprano and the gang have always been part of American culture.
  31. They have no memory of Bob Dole promoting Viagra.
  32. Books have always been read to you on audible.com.
  33. Citizens have always been able to register to vote when they get their driver’s license.
  34. Bluetooth has always been keeping us wireless and synchronized.
  35. X-rays have always been digital allowing them to be read immediately.
  36. Exxon and Mobil have been one company—and it doesn’t own any gas stations.
  37. They have always eaten irradiated food.
  38. A Bush and a Clinton have always been campaigning for something big.
  39. Physicians have always had unions.
  40. Some have always questioned the sexual orientation of certain Teletubbies.
  41. Snowboarding has always been an Olympic sport.
  42. Students have always questioned where and by whom their sweatshirts are made.
  43. While chads were hanging in Florida, they were potty training in all 50 states.
  44. Presidents have always been denied line item veto power.
  45. Nigeria has always been a constitutional republic with a civilian government.
  46. The once-feared Thalidomide has always been recognized as a cancer fighting drug.
  47. DreamWorks has always been making animated creatures heroic and loveable.
  48. Deceased men have always been able to procreate.
  49. John Elway and Wayne Gretzky have always been retired.
  50. They have never seen billboard ads for cigarettes.
  51. The New York Stock Exchange has never reported its ups and downs in fractions.
  52. Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
  53. There have always been iMacs on desks.
  54. Instant, tray-less ice cubes have never been a novelty.
  55. Robots have always been surgical partners in the O.R.
  56. Peregrine falcons have never been on the endangered species list.
  57. Outstanding women basketball players have always had their own Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.
  58. Newt who?
  59. War films have always shown horrific battle scenes inspired by Saving Private Ryan.
  60. Michael J. Fox has always spoken publicly about having Parkinson’s disease.

Copyright© 2016 Beloit College
Mindset List is a registered trademark

 

 

 

 

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100-Word Strolls for 8/20/16: NOT SO FAST, THERE, BUB

The meme reads, “The devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns.  He comes as everything you’ve ever wished for.  Pray for wisdom and discernment.” 

Allow this contrast:  “Trust in the Lord and do good: dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him . . .  Psalm 37:3-7.

Caution is good.  Wisdom and discernment?  Needed now more than ever.  But let’s not give the Adversary a bigger head than he’s already got.  Anyone fool enough to challenge God in The House can’t be as bright and irresistible as he’d like you to believe.  Need I remind you he lost?

God’s omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.  Not Satan.  Goliath looked impossible to beat, too.  Then a boy and a sling and a pocket full of rocks who knew how to trust and pray / said, “If you’re gonna go, Goliath, you better go now, ’cause I came here to stay!”


GOD’S GREATER THAN THE GIANTS YOU FACE – 1 John 4:4


Satan is a slick, deceitful, lying ruiner of lives whose only consideration is getting his own way.  He’ll use anything – even the shaded-and-shaved truth, even abusing Scripture – to keep God’s man or woman off balance, upset and irritable, maybe even lashing out so watching unbelievers grab a ready excuse to stay numbed and spiritually deadened  1 John 4:1-6.

No.  With respect, Satan doesn’t come as everything you’ve ever wished for.  He just loves to make you think he has.  He’s not called The Deceiver and Father of all Lies for no reason.

But hang onto the wisdom and discernment bit.  We can all use more of it.

© D. Dean Boone, August 2016

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100-Word Strolls for 8/19/16: NOTES FROM MY BATHROOM MIRROR

Ever notice some of your most incisive thoughts and most brilliant debates occur in the shower when you can’t record them for mankind?

I have a big 4′ by 3′ mirror in my bathroom.  We are not friends in the morning.

“PING”.  Idea.  I got some black dry-erase markers and began capturing all that early-morning magnificence before it could sneak out my ears and be rinsed away.

From this morning:  “A writer’s mind is of necessity an agile thing.  Created to be creative, to pursue ideas at the drop of a pen.”  Bad grammar and all.  Just write it down, Boonie!  You can finesse it later.

I did.  And I will.  Too AR not to.

“So, Dan–are all writers ADD/ADHD?  You all carry notepads you’re always ferociously scribbling in.  Would those scribbles make any sense to us readers?  And sometimes trying to carry on a conversation with you is like watching a time-lapse clip of the Kellogg/I-135 interchange on the morning commute.”

Unlikely.  I can’t even make sense of some of them.  But enough of them remain to give you what I’ve promised from the start to deliver:  to lift, encourage, edify and challenge you to personal and spiritual excellence.  And you oughta hear the conversations I have with myself . . .

Oh, and occasionally I toss in stuff just to amuse you with yet another innovative idea that might work for you.  Grocery list.  Christmas.  People you want to bite when the Zombie Apocalypse happens.  Like that.

© D. Dean Boone, August 2016

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100-Word Stroll for 8/18/16: I JUST DON’T WANT TO

I don’t feel like writing today.

I’m in a foul mood.  I’m exhausted and it’s not yet noon.  What I’m doing is immaterial; I could do nothing and still be worn out, which is why I keep doing something rather than nothing.

My DNA is noncompliant with doing nothing, especially when there’s so much something to be done.

Writing is work.  Good writing is hard work.  Empathic writing that reaches up off the page and touches fingers and feelings with the reader wrings one out.  I’m always going for the latter.

Inspiration?  Try perspiration.  By the time unfinished and/or necessary tasks are done and I’ve cleaned up, all I’m inspired to do is relax and read.

And eat.  Some more.  After I wake up.  Again.

They say a professional writer is an amateur who wouldn’t give up.  It fits because I won’t.  I just don’t feel like writing today.  I have little in the tank to invest in you, so I’m not.  I’m letting you know how I feel, and that I’m willing to treat you like enough of a friend to say so.

You’ve noticed that I’m writing anyway while being authentic with you.  This is called free writing.  Even when I feel like I could do the limbo beneath a whale lying on the seabed without knocking off my hat, I refuse to quit.

That’s my investment for today in myself.  Besides, our stroll together for today is done.  Thanks for your company.  You’ve brightened my day and lightened my load by listening.

© D. Dean Boone, August 2016

 

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100-Word Stroll for 8/17/16: I DON’T WANT TO “TIRED” TODAY

I’m tired of tireding.  I don’t like it and would just as soon move beyond it and never again need to deal with it.

I’d love to start a day out full of energy from the night’s sleep like everybody else.  Unless God steps in – again – that will never happen again in this life.  I awaken tired regardless of the amount of the previous night’s sleep.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a CI – a chronic illness – and is not funny.  So is Chronic Nutrition Deficit, Malabsorption Syndrome and all their in-laws.  I deal with them all.

Cause of mine?  Essentially, no small intestine.  “Hello, Google.” 

Unless you know the ‘tells’ and know me, you’ll never know I’m a “CI” by looking at me.  We don’t carry cards or wear lapel pins, and I don’t show off my scars.  When things get challenging – and they do – I’m just absent.  I don’t emerge until my smile and sunny attitude are back in place.

“CI”s are some of the most resilient, joyfully-tough, tenacious, amazing people I’ve ever known.  CIs don’t want your pity – just your understanding, especially when they get hot real fast at someone muttering, “Well, you don’t look sick.”

Anybody dealing with a CI can give up and die.  It takes guts and, in my opinion, a strong spiritual foundation to live as a “CI” and be an encouragement to others.

Know a “CI”?  Be a friend, and get ’em to talk if they’re willing.  Every one’s a hero and has a story you need to hear.  It’ll help you when you’re tireding.

The top picture made you yawn, didn’t it?  You can tell me . . .

© D. Dean Boone, August 2016

 

 

 

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100-Word Stroll for 8/16/16: I BELIEVE I’LL STICK WITH JESUS

Grab your coffee and walk with me . . .

I’ve sung all my life.  There was always music in the Boone house.  “Reveille”:  piano.  “Amazing Grace” and “Shenandoah”:  harmonica.  “Honey In The Rock”:  mandolin.  Harmony wherever two or more of us happened to be.

I love most contemporary praise & worship lyrics.  They’re soul-lifting and spirit-nourishing.  I most often awake with one “in the hold” that usually incites that day’s post.  This morning?

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”:  Bev Shea.

AH-uh.  I caught that wrinkled lip.  Not “old”; “Timeless”.  What fuels all our p & w songs is we’re able to walk with God because of Jesus.

The Bible’s the map and it says Jesus is THE way and putting my faith in Him won’t ever do me wrong because He’s got me.  Nothin’ confusing ’bout thayat.

So.  Bring me your p & w songs and I’ll sing ’em loud with you as long as they lift up Christ.  ‘Cause at day’s end I’d rather have Him.

“Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts.  People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.” – 1 Timothy 6:20

© D. Dean Boone, August 2016

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\\\\\ HERE’S WHAT A CA-125 TEST IS /////

It’s not one of those weird California tests that evaluates whether you’re capable of driving 125 mph on the 405.

CA-125 is a blood test every woman needs to know about.  One of you sent this, thinking the information needs to be much better known.  I agree.  I’m passing this on without comment or edition, other than to make it more readable.  Kathy West is the original writer. – Dan

A few years ago, Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer.  Her symptoms were inconclusive, and she was treated for everything under the sun until it was too late.  This blood test finally identified her illness but alas, too late.  She wrote a book to heighten awareness.  Gene Wilder is her widower.

KATHY’S STORY:   As all of you know, I have Primary Peritoneal Cancer.  This cancer has only recently been identified as its OWN type of cancer, but it is essentially Ovarian Cancer. Both types of cancer are diagnosed in the same way, with the “tumour marker” CA-125 BLOOD TEST, and they are treated in the same way – surgery to remove the primary tumor and then chemotherapy with Taxol and Carboplatin.

Having gone through this ordeal, I want to save others from the same fate.  That is why I am sending this message to you and hope you will print it and give it or send it via E-mail to everybody you know. One thing I have learned is that each of us must take TOTAL responsibility for our own health care.  I thought I had done that because I always had an annual physical and PAP smear, did a monthly Self-Breast Exam, went to the dentist at least twice a year, etc.  I even insisted on a sigmoidoscopy and a bone density test last year.

When I had a total hysterectomy in 1993, I thought that I did not have to worry about getting any of the female reproductive organ cancers. LITTLE DID I KNOW?  I don’t have ovaries (and they were HEALTHY when they were removed), but I have what is essentially ovarian cancer.  Strange, isn’t it?

These are just SOME of the things our Doctors never tell us: ONE out of every 55 women will get OVARIAN or PRIMARY PERITONEAL CANCER. The “CLASSIC” symptoms are an ABDOMEN that rather SUDDENLY ENLARGES and CONSTIPATION and/or DIARRHEA. I had these classic symptoms and went to the doctor.  Because these symptoms seemed to be “abdominal”, I went to a gastroenterologist.  He ran tests that were designed to determine whether there was a bacteria infection; these tests were negative, and I was diagnosed with “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”.  I guess I would have accepted this diagnosis had it not been for my enlarged abdomen.  I swear to you, it looked like I was 4-5 months pregnant!  I therefore insisted on more tests. They took an X-ray of my abdomen; it was negative.  I was again assured that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and was encouraged to go on my scheduled month-long trip to Europe.

I couldn’t wear any of my slacks or shorts because I couldn’t get them buttoned, and I KNEW something was radically wrong.  I INSISTED on more tests, and they reluctantly) scheduled me for a CT-Scan (just to shut me up, I think).  This is what I mean by “taking charge of our own health care.” The CT-Scan showed a lot of fluid in my abdomen (NOT normal).  Needless to say, I had to cancel my trip and have FIVE POUNDS of fluid drawn off at the hospital (not a pleasant experience I assure you), but NOTHING compared to what was ahead of me.

Tests revealed cancer cells in the fluid.  Finally, finally, finally, the doctor ran a CA-125 blood test, and I was properly diagnosed. I HAD THE CLASSIC SYMPTOMS FOR OVARIAN CANCER, AND YET THIS SIMPLE CA-125 BLOOD TEST HAD NEVER BEEN RUN ON ME, not as part of my annual physical exam and not when I was symptomatic.

This is an inexpensive and simple blood test! PLEASE, PLEASE TELL ALL YOUR FEMALE FRIENDS AND RELATIVES TO INSIST ON A CA-125 BLOOD TEST EVERY YEAR AS PART OF THEIR ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMS. Be forewarned that their doctors might try to talk them out of it, saying, “IT ISN’T NECESSARY.”  Believe me, had I known then what I know now, we would have caught my cancer much earlier (before it was a stage 3 cancer).  Insist on the CA-125 BLOOD TEST; DO NOT take “NO” for an answer!

The normal range for a CA-125 BLOOD TEST is between zero and 35.  MINE WAS 754.  (That’s right, 754!).  If the number is slightly above 35, you can have another done in three or six months and keep a close eye on it, just as women do when they have fibroid tumours or when men have a slightly elevated PSA test (Prostatic Specific Antigens) that helps diagnose prostate cancer. Having the CA-125 test done annually can alert you early, and that’s the goal in diagnosing any type of cancer – catching it early. Do you know 55 women?  If so, at least one of them will have this VERY AGGRESSIVE cancer.

Please, go to your doctor and insist on a CA-125 test and have one EVERY YEAR for the rest of your life. And forward this message to every woman you know, and tell all of your female family members and friends.  Though the median age for this cancer is 56, (and, guess what, I’m exactly 56), women as young as 22 have it.  Age is no factor.

A NOTE FROM AN RN:  Well, after reading this, I made some calls.  I found that the CA-125 test is an ovarian screening test equivalent to a man’s PSA test prostate screen (which my husband’s doctor automatically gives him in his physical each year and insurance pays for it).  I called the general practitioner’s office about having the test done. The nurse had never heard of it.  She told me that she doubted that insurance would pay for it.  So I called Prudential Insurance Co, and got the same response. Never heard of it – it won’t be covered. I explained that it was the same as the PSA test they had paid for my husband for years.  After conferring with whomever they confer with, she told me that the CA-125 would be covered. It is $75 in a GP’s office and $125 at the GYN’s.  This is a screening test that should be required just like a PAP smear (a PAP smear cannot detect problems with your ovaries).  And you must insist that your insurance company pay for it.

Gene Wilder and Pierce Brosnan (his wife had it, too) are lobbying for women’s health issues, saying that this test should be required in our physicals, just like the PAP and the mammogram.  PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO SEND THIS OUT TO ALL THOSE YOU CAN.  BE IT MALE OR FEMALE, IT SHOULD NOT MATTER, AS THEY CAN FORWARD IT ALSO TO THOSE LOVED ONES THEY KNOW.

I’m encouraging you to do the same.  I’ve sat with too many surviving spouses and listened to their frustration with cases just like Kathy’s to discount this information. 

Thank you, 2nd Cuppers, for taking time to absorb this and send it along; and a shout out to the one who thought enough of us all to send it to me.  This may be one of the most important posts of mine you ever forward.

Dan

August 2016

 

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100-Word Stroll for 8/13/16: LIFE’S ALWAYS AHEAD OF YOU

Your life isn’t behind you, your memories are.  Your life is ALWAYS right in front of you.  Today is a new day.  What are you doing with it?

From an Acura ad:  “There are 15 weekends this summer:  make them count.”  Most of them are already memories.

You can’t alter the past, whatever it is.  Remember Frodo?  “There are some things that time cannot mend . . .  some hurts that go too deep . . .  that have taken hold.”  That’s true.  You can’t change them and it’s fruitless to try.  Yet you can shape and focus now, looking ahead.  That shaping and focusing can be a worthwhile, challenging, eager and constant thing.

Habit, right?  Good or bad, it’s up to you.  You’ll spend precious time with one or the other.  It’s easy and popular to get lost in the “I-wish-I’d” and “if-only” cattails.  Yet there’s a time when what’s popular and easy needs to be overridden by what needs to be done.  Doing that thins out the crowd, yet those who remain are worth hanging with.

Life – starting with right now – is always ahead of you.  Embrace and plan it.

“Don’t let triggers from your past shoot holes all over your present.” – Karen Salmansohn

© D. Dean Boone, August 2016

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